BOSTON (AP) — Many prospective jurors in the trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have expressed anger over the attack and compassion for the people who were killed and injured in the explosions.
But on Friday, traces of sympathy for Tsarnaev emerged during questioning. Two potential jurors — mirroring a defense claim — said they wondered whether Tsarnaev was led into participating in the bombings through his admiration for his older brother, Tamerlan. Prosecutors say Dzhokhar, then 19, and Tamerlan, 26, carried out the bombings to retaliate against the U.S. for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured when two bombs exploded near the marathon finish line on April 15, 2013.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a gun battle with police days after the bombings.
One prospective juror, a self-employed construction contractor, said he has two brothers and three sisters and "can relate" to looking up to an older brother. He described how his brother liked to drink and how he "thought that was a really great thing to do."
"Someone I looked up to led me in that direction," he said.
The man seemed to quickly change course when he mentioned his 5-year-old grandson. He said he can't help but think of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was killed in the bombing.
"It comes back to me that it was a very selfish act of some people to have robbed a child of their life like that," he said.
Another prospective juror, a freelance journalist, said she is opposed to the death penalty and doesn't think she could consider sentencing Tsarnaev to death.
"I'm not sure about his motivation and his psychological state and his relationship with his brother. I know what the media told me, but I don't know the whole story, really," she said.
Later, she said she was sad to know that the only other alternative for Tsarnaev is life in prison without the possibility of release.
"It's sad to me even that there's not a chance of parole for him," she said.
Also Friday, Tsarnaev's lawyers asked the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston to have the full court hear their request to move the trial out of Massachusetts. A three-judge panel agreed to hold a hearing next week.
Tsarnaev's lawyers have repeatedly argued that he cannot get a fair trial in Massachusetts because of the emotional impact the deadly attack had here.